It doesn’t really matter where you live in the world people are always attracted to the coastlines and beaches. There are numerous reasons for this, usually pertaining to hot weather and a relaxing place to cool off in the nearby waters.
There’s no doubt that beaches are ideal for sunbathing, picnics, swimming, diving, sailing, boating, snorkeling, and scuba diving etc. however, they’re also ideal places to practice several types of photography.
There are so many different types of beautiful beaches to choose from. Some are deserted and tranquil while others are jam packed with people like sardines in a can. The type of beach you take your shots on will produce the mood of the photographs. Isolated and deserted stretches of coastline will definitely create a different feeling in the viewer than a crowded, white sandy beach.
You can take all sorts of shots on beaches, such as portraits, silhouettes, wildlife, macro, seascapes, landscapes, and even documentary photos. And what better place than a beach to capture an amazing or romantic sunset on camera?
Beaches are ideal for creative abstract photography and macro images. As long as you let your imagination run wild you should have no problem coming up with plenty of ideas and topics to shoot. For example, there are footprints in the sand, interesting seashells, old boats, beach huts, seagulls, lighthouses, piers, and the breaking waves. Of course you can always use people as your subject as well.
If you’re looking to create a shallow depth of field in your beach shots you may want to use a telephoto lens and open the aperture up wide. Then you can just zoom in on your topic and focus. If you want to guarantee a clear and crisp image you can get down low and stabilize the camera with whatever’s available.
If you’d like to take portraits at the beach it’s a great place to capture children. In fact, they’ll probably be having so much fun that it might be a hard task to get them to sit still. This is fine though as you can capture them in action as they enjoy the freedom a beach provides.
If you’re going to capture the kids as they tear along the sand and in the water, you’ll need to use a faster shutter speed, perhaps something like 1/400th of a second.
You might be able to get them to slow down a little bit if you can get them interested in building a sandcastle. You should frame and focus on the child, but you might want to zoom out just enough to include some background to give the image some context.
If you’d like to go for a portrait that’s evenly lit, you can diffuse the stark sunlight falling on your subject’s face by utilizing a t-shirt, beach towel, or white sheet to provide the setting with some shade. You could use a prime lens of 35mm or 50mm and a wide aperture which will allow you to slightly blur your bright background while keeping the person in focus.
The seas’ ebb and flow provides great motion shots and these can be captured by using a tripod and a slow shutter speed. Even when the sun goes down you’ll be able to capture excellent beach shots. Of course, the sunset itself is always worthy of numerous photos and when it’s finally sunk into the sea you can place your subject on the shoreline in front of the horizon and take interesting and dramatic silhouettes.
There are numerous opportunities to be creative and have fun while taking your camera to the beach. Just remember to protect your digital camera from the water and sand and enjoy yourself as much as possible.